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Argentina thrash Mexico, set up quarterfinal clash with Germany

Argentina booked a World Cup quarterfinal with Germany after seeing off Mexico 3-1 in the last 16, Carlos Tevez netting a brace and Gonzalo Higuain also on target prior to Javier Hernandez's consolation. Vanquished England and Mexico were left licking wounds.
By HT Correspondent | AP, Johannesburg
UPDATED ON JUN 28, 2010 11:59 AM IST

Carlos Tevez scored two goals and Gonzalo Higuain added another Sunday to give Argentina a 3-1 win over Mexico and a spot in the World Cup quarterfinals.

For the second consecutive match, though, there was controversy over a refereeing blunder.

Tevez was clearly offside when he headed in a chipped pass from Lionel Messi in the eighth minute at Soccer City. The referee awarded the goal after a lengthy consultation with his linesman as the pair was surrounded by angry Mexicans and Argentine players. In the 33rd, Higuain rounded the goalkeeper to make it 2-0 after Ricardo Osorio, under no pressure, played the ball straight into his path. In the 52nd, Tevez scored with a hard shot from 25 meters (yards).

Javier Hernandez pulled a goal back for Mexico in the 71st after spinning off two defenders.

The Mexicans had enjoyed the better chances in the early stages, with Carlos Salcido's shot striking the crossbar in the eighth minute.

Argentina now plays Germany in the quarterfinals, a repeat of the 2006 World Cup match at the same stage which the Germans won. The Germans also beat Argentina in the 1990 World Cup final. Argentina coach Diego Maradona reverted to a near full-strength lineup for Sunday's match, with Maxi Rodriguez, who scored the winner against Mexico at the last World Cup, chosen in midfield in place of Juan Sebastian Veron.

After some scintillating football in the group stage, the Argentines were favored going into the match, but Messi struggled to find space in midfield for much of the encounter, and the Mexicans were more threatening early on.

Shortly after Salcido hit the crossbar, Mexico teammate Andres Guardado burst through on a counterattack but his shot flew wide of the left post.

After Tevez's opening goal, however, the Argentines slowly began to control the game.

Tevez was again proving a handful with his lively running, and Higuain _ the leading scorer at the World Cup with four goals _ should have added another but headed a point-blank cross wide just before halftime.

As the players headed toward the tunnel, there were angry scenes as Mexican players had to be pulled away from Maradona and the match officials, furious at the circumstances surrounding the opening goal.

Earlier Sunday, Germany beat England 4-1 but that game was also mired in controversy after the referee failed to spot a clear goal from England midfielder Frank Lampard with the score at 2-1. In the second half at Soccer City, the Mexicans chased the game and at times Argentina had to resort to some frantic defending. Messi, one of the most outstanding players in the tournament, again failed to score, his best effort coming in injury time when his rasping shot was tipped over the bar.

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